sciatic exercises to avoid - Sciatica During Pregnancy
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Sciatica During Pregnancy

Imagine the surprise a woman must feel while dealing with the physical symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy, to suddenly develop severe back pain. This is not the usual low back pain that is often experienced during pregnancy; it is sciatica. This sharp, shooting pain usually starts in the buttocks and radiates down the back or side of the thigh to the calf and possibly the heel. There may be paralyzing numbness, in addition to the pain, which can be severe enough to limit mobility.


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First, let me tell you why today's traditional treatment methods just flat out miss the boat. The medical community is so conditioned and focused on treating only the symptoms and trying to get in as many patients a day as possible, that many people are misdiagnosed and/or mistreated.

If this is the path you have been down and you're tired of all the worthless treatments that just don't work, you must read this article! I guarantee you, it will likely be far different than what you have read or heard anywhere else!

Sciatic pain comes about either due to a traumatic event, muscle imbalances, or a combination of both. The event scenario is most likely the catalyst for sudden onset of sciatic pain. So what happens' when there is undue stress on the Piriformis muscle that stress causes it to go into spasm and then you have pain due to the Piriformis muscle putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.

3. Pressure caused by Isthmic spondylolisthesis which is simply when a vertebrae slips or moves... this can sometimes pinch the sciatic nerve but often times people who have this condition don't have any pain, symptoms, or even know they have it!

One last point, sciaitic pain is not caused by a lack of prescription medications so don't think that taking some anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants will fix it... it won't! Also, many people are able to eliminate sciatic pain within days just by performing a few exercises and stretches... but not general exercise... the exact corrective exercises and stretches they need to do.

As the pregnancy develops, the abdominal tendons and ligaments become looser to prepare for childbirth. The backs of some women become quite unstable and prone to injury. Medical evaluation should always be sought. In some cases, sciatic pain is due to pressure on the nerve that is caused by damage to the disc between the vertebrae of the spine. This creates inflammation and pain and requires specific treatment.

??? Moist heat alternated with ice packs ??? Chiropractic treatments may be helpful. Be sure to select a practitioner experienced in treating prenatal patients.

To learn more about muscle imbalances and how they affect your body, please read our article 'Aches, Pains, and Injuries' which you can find on our website here: http://www.losethebackpain.com/achesandpainsarticle.html

If you are not sure which one of the four is causing your sciatic pain, I recommend you start with the basics. Most cases of sciatic pain are caused by muscle imbalances so if you begin to work on correcting any muscle imbalances you have, you should start to see improvement right away.

The medical term for sciatica is a radiculopathy, which means that a spinal disc has extended beyond its normal position and is irritating the radicular nerve (nerve root) in the lower back, which connects with the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve branches off as it travels down the lower extremity through the back of the leg, and thus pain can be experienced along this route. Even though it may seem counterintuitive, healing sciatica pain through exercise is better than bed rest. Resting for a day or two after the patients sciatica flares up is acceptable, but inactivity after this time will usually make the pain worse. Your back muscles and spinal structure become deconditioned without exercise and movement and are less able to support the back. Leading to strain and further back injury this deconditioning and weakening is the most common reason for additional back pain. If you want to have healthy spinal discs you need to make sure that you are exercising. Nutrients and fluids are exchange within discs through movement and help to keep them healthy. The focus of most sciatica exercises are on strengthening the back and abdominal muscles to provide more strength and support for your back. If you have muscles that cause pain when they are tight and inflexible, stretching exercises for sciatica targeted muscles is recommended. When you partake in stretching and strengthening exercises, the average patient will recover more quickly from a sciatica episode and prevent future flare ups of the pain. Because sciatic pain is not caused by the same ailments, specific sciatica exercises are recommended depending on the cause of the pain. Its just like bringing your car into the mechanic, if the muffler is the problem then rotating the wheels will most likely not fix the problem. A certified athletic trainer, physical therapist, chiropractor or or spine specialist who deals with back and leg pain associated with sciatica may recommend a treatment program with exercise being a part of it. Making sure you are properly diagnosed before starting a specific sciatica exercise program is important because, while it is rare, sciatica pain can be cause by serious medical conditions such as a tumor or infection that require prompt medical attention. I was going to list an assortment of exercises that one could do but I don't think with what I have said in my above statement that this would be a good idea. Self diagnosis can often lead to further injury so I stick to what I wrote and recommend that before you start specific sciatica exercises you should consult one of the above recommended specialists and discuss a treatment plan with a professional.

The other way sciatic pain creeps into your life is due to your lifestyle and habits, and that is what we like to call the process. The process can be described as a prolonged onset of symptoms based on your everyday activities...

In most cases, people go to physical therapy or minimize their physical activity to break the pain ' spasm cycle and in most cases your symptoms subside. However'the event will also set you up for a life time of sciatic pain if the Piriformis muscle does not recover 100% in both strength and flexibility.

When you have an injury to a muscle, both strength and flexibility are compromised, and if your recovery ends before strength and flexibility return, you will never be 100% and will likely struggle with the problem forever.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean: 1. If you sit on the edge of your chair with you legs separated and your feet pointing outward you are keeping your Piriformis muscle in a shortened position and that's how it gets tight and with extended sitting in that position, it gets weak form lack of use. Hence the imbalance.

Find out what's causing your sciatic pain and learn exactly which exercises and stretches you should be doing by watching our Lose the Back Pain Video. Order your copy now online at http://www.losethebackpain.com

??? Try to avoid significant weight gain. ??? Try sleeping on a firm mattress, lying on one side. A pillow rolled up under the knees may be helpful.

If you're reading this article, it's a good bet that you have a radiating pain running down the back of your leg that just won't go away. If what I'm about to tell you sounds familiar, don't worry, help is on the way.

About the Author:

Paul G Miller is a Ft Lauderdale chiropractic therapist who has worked with individuals with back pain problems for seven years.
If you would like to receive a free weekly newsletter on back pain relief visit www.usspinecare.com and also to get more in-depth information.

??? Maintain proper posture and try to stand straight. ??? Wear flat shoes or ones with a very low heel. Avoid shoes that throw your weight backwards.

So how do you get rid of your pain? Will learning one new stretch be enough? It very well may be. However depending on the severity of your condition you may need to change your activities of daily living to include new stretches, new exercises that include the use of the hip rotators like roller-blading, basketball, tennis, etc, and even better, specific corrective exercise specific to your situation... like those covered in our video. As always, learn as much as you can about your condition, so that you can ask the tough questions to your healthcare providers and get the best care possible.

In most circumstances conservative sciatica treatment is tried for three to six months. When conservative sciatica treatment fails to alleviate your pain more aggressive sciatica treatment options are usually attempted. Epidural Steroid Injections: An injection of a corticosteroid medication to the affected area may be helpful in some instances. If taken in doses that exceed your natural levels, inflammation is suppressed relieving painful symptoms caused by the pressure of the inflammation. Most effective when used in conjunction with a sciatica treatment rehabilitation program. Because of the serious side effects that corticosteroid injections can cause, the number of injections you can receive in a year is usually limited to no more then three. Surgery: Surgery is most often a last resort and left until the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or if the pain itself is progressing and conventional sciatica treatment is not working. Most often surgery is preformed as a sciatica treatment to remove a portion of a herniated disk that is pressing on a nerve. The goal is to preserve as mush of the normal anatomy as possible, leaving as much of the disk intact as possible.

2. Pressure caused by spinal stenosis, which is a decrease in the space between the vertebrae. This is primarily caused by uneven pressure and compression due to muscle imbalances.

??? Massage to reduce muscle tension. Some experts believe that tightness in the gluteus and psosas muscles contribute to sciatic pain. Treatment once or twice a week can help relieve stress on weight-bearing joints.

 
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However, from a technical stand point the process really describes the development of the muscle imbalance in your hip. The Piriformis muscle is responsible for external rotation (moving your leg so your feet point outward). So over time that muscle gets tight from the positions you put your self in and weakens from lack of use.

??? Williams Exercises have been developed specifically for use during pregnancy. They may temporarily relieve sciatica pain as they help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, the back and abdomen.

4. Pressure caused by a herniated or bulging disc. A herniation is when a disc protrudes out from between the vertebrae and this can either be caused by an event like a car accident, or, by months or years of uneven pressure due to muscle imbalances. It is also important to note that many people with herniated discs don't even experience pain or symptoms, and many don't know they have the condition.

In most people, self care measures is usually recommended a sciatica treatment as this usually responds well. Continuing with your usual activities but avoiding the original factor that aggravated your sciatica pain in the first place will help you to heal more quickly. Even though it seems like a few days of bed rest may provide some relief, any more then this is not a good idea. Inactivity will make your symptoms worse over time. In addition to self care sciatica treatment, try some of the following: Cold Packs: Cold packs help to reduce inflammation and relieve some of the discomfort. In a clean towel, wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas and apply to the affected areas for fifteen to twenty minutes four times per day. Hot Packs: After 48 hours have passed, apply heat to the affected areas. Warm packs or a heating pad on the lowest setting should help to alleviate some of the pain. Try to alternate warm and cold packs if you continue to have pain. Stretching: When stretching initially after your sciatica flare up, stick to passive stretching and avoid jerking motions including bouncing or twisting. Over The Counter Medication: There are two categories of pain killers. The first one only relieves pain. The second type of pain killer relieves pain as well as treats inflammation. These are called Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Products such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen products such as Tylenol can help to relieve sciatica pain. These can provide real pain relief but there is a limit to how much pain can be controlled. This is known as the ceiling effect - exceeding the recommended dosage wont provide better results. Worse though is that these NSAIDS are known to cause side effects in some people such as nausea, stomach bleeding or ulcers. Acetaminophen has been known to cause liver problems if taken in excess. If you use these medications on a regular basis talk to you health care professional so that you can be monitored for problems associated with prolonged usage. If you are exercising, stretching or following another sciatica treatment program you should periodically re-evaluate if you still require these NSAIDS for pain management. Prescription Drugs: A muscle relaxant along with anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed by your health care professional. In some cases of chronic pain anticonvulsant and tricyclic antidepressant drugs may also be prescribed. By blocking the pain messages being sent to your brain or enhancing the bodies production of endorphins, pain symptoms can sometimes be handled this way. Your bodies natural painkillers are called endorphins. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can play an important part in your recovery from a herniated disk. When your condition improves your physical therapist can work with you to help design a rehabilitation program that will help you prevent the same injury in the future. Regular Exercise: When you injure yourself you think that movement or exercise would be counterproductive and all you want to do is just lay down and rest until the pain goes away. The truth is that regular exercise is the best way to combat many ailments, including chronic discomfort. When you exercise your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are the chemical that prevent pain signals from reaching your brain and can also help to fight against anxiety and depression. Your pain may be more difficult to control if you suffer from either depression or anxiety.

1. Pressure caused by shortening and tightening of the piriformis muscle. This is almost always due to months or years of muscle imbalances in the hip rotator muscles.

As you can see, there is a trend here... in nearly every case, muscle imbalances are the primary cause of the pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome are the same condition... it is just that the medical community is starting to call the condition by the muscle (Piriformis) that is involved and getting away from calling it by the name of the nerve that is involved (sciatic) nothing more than semantics.

Sciatica can occur at any time in a normal pregnancy but it is most common during the second and third trimester, when the baby is larger and carried lower in the abdomen. Known as Pregnancy-Related Sciatica, it is caused by the pressure of the baby on the sciatic nerve. This is the largest nerve in the body, about the diameter of a finger. Its fibers branch off the spinal cord at the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebra (L4, L5) and the first few segments of the sacrum.

Did you go see your primary care physician and get diagnosis of Sciatica only to have them refer you to an orthopedic specialist and than get a diagnosis of Piriformis Syndrome... and than be told to see a Physical Therapist and the PT tells you a little heat, ultra sound, electrical stimulation and some therapeutic exercises and we will have you good as new???

2. Another example is runners and bikers who actually work very hard tend to get sciatica because they fail to keep a strength vs. stretch balance in their workouts. Hence the imbalance creates a greater pull toward external rotation and the result is a tight Piriformis and an irritated sciatic nerve creating pain.

Most physicians avoid prescribing medications for pregnant patients suffering from sciatica but there are several steps that can be taken to relieve or decrease the discomfort. This includes:

Before we look at a few exercises for sciatica it is important to understand what sciatica is. Often misused and not clearly defined, sciatica is not a diagnosis in itself but in actuality sciatica is a set of symptoms being caused by another medical issue, most often a slipped or herniated disk. The term sciatica refers to the pain caused when one ore more of the nerves exiting the lower spine are being compressed or irritated. These nerves exiting the lower spines make up the sciatic nerve. A herniated or slipped disk is not the only medical condition that can cause sciatica but it is the most common.

??? When getting out of bed, try rolling onto your side first, letting the weight of your feet and legs dangling over the edge of the bed, pull your body into a sitting position. This puts less stress on the lower back, helping you to avoid triggering a painful muscle spasm.

In addition, these helpful habits may decrease the chances of developing sciatica: ??? Avoid hours of sitting slumped at a computer or standing with a baby on one hip. Both can contribute to lower back pain.

There are several self assessments you can perform to help identify which specific muscle imbalances you have and these are covered in our Lose the Back Pain Video along with step-by-step instructions on what to do to eliminate your imbalances and pain. You can learn more by visiting http://www.losethebackpain.com

These are just two examples of how muscle imbalances can affect the Piriformis muscle and cause Sciatic pain. You may not be a runner or cyclist but I'll bet you have muscle imbalances that are causing your sciatic pain!

??? Swimming and walking are excellent exercises if not contra-indicated by the physician. ??? Avoid walking on an incline as this can cause joint irritation and lead to problems.

??? Bedrest may be necessary at times. ??? See your physician if the pain becomes unmanageable. Sciatica is unique to a pregnancy and may gradually disappear on its own. Just because you had sciatica in one pregnancy does not mean it will appear in a subsequent one.

Recovery Tip: In severe cases, the sciatic pain can run from the top of the hip to the bottom of the foot. It is very important to recognize that changes and shifting of pain is often times a sign of improvement. Further more as a way of gauging recovery, take note of how far down the leg the pain goes. If the pain goes to the foot one day and then only makes it to the calf and then to the knee and then it can only make it to the hamstring that is a sign of improvement. You should feel good about those noticeable improvements and this should give you encouragement to keep working toward a full remission of pain.

Sciatic pain is simply caused by pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve and there are primarily four things that can create this... you may have one or more of the following:

About the author:
Article by Jesse Cannone of http://www.losethebackpain.
com. Jesse is a certified personal fitness trainer and
post-rehab specialist and he has helped hundreds of individuals
to eliminate their back pain. Visit his site now and be sure to
sign up for his free email course on eliminating back pain.


 
 
     
 
 





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